Things to Do DC

The Weekend Scene: 15+ Things to Do in the DC Area to Shake Up Summer

Festivals, free Shakespeare in the park, skating plus more free activities and events for your weekend in D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia

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The D.C. area is packed with opportunities to try something new with the whole family, whether you’re finding fun activities to fill up summer break or a family visit.

Maybe you do some easily accessible golfing — CitySwing is indoors and family-friendly, while mini golf spots like Puttery and Swingers are a good choice if you want to keep one hand free for a cocktail.

To get on the water, try Northern Virginia’s water parks or hydrobiking at National Harbor. It’s an easy drive to many lakes, rivers and beaches, including North Beach in Maryland or tubing on the Shenandoah River near Harpers Ferry. 

From a celebration of Black nerd culture to a special performance of Stevie Wonder's music at the Signature Theatre, News4's Tommy McFLY breaks down what to do this weekend in the D.C. area.

Once the sun goes down, you can head out for movie screenings under the stars.

Here are some more ideas for the weekend of July 9 to 11.

Things to Do This Weekend in the Washington, D.C., Area

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Free Pick
In-Person Behind the Scenes Conservation Center Tour
Friday, Jul 8, 12 p.m.
Smithsonian American Art Museum (8th and G Street NW, Washington, DC)

Attend this free event in the Luther Conservation Center to learn about the techniques used to preserve plastic works of art. Space is limited and registration is required for the event.

Hotter Than July: Stevie Wonder
Through July 17
Signature Theatre

Signature Theatre’s first cabaret in two years is inspired by Stevie Wonder’s 1980 platinum album “Hotter than July.” Performances run through July 17.

Potomac Jazz and Seafood Festival
Friday to Sunday, July 8-10, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
St. Clement’s Island Museum (38370 Point Breeze Rd, Coltons Point, Maryland)

Pick a day this weekend to enjoy jazz performances from groups like the Howard University Jazz Quartet. Tickets begin at $85 and include a water taxi boat cruise on the Potomac River, free museum admission and seafood.

Through July 13
MGM National Harbor

Spend a night at the circus with MGM National Harbor serving as the big top. Dare devils, acrobats, pranksters and clowns will entertain the whole family. Tickets start at $15.

DC Plant Week
Wednesday-Sunday, July 6-10

Plant week kicks off at Little Leaf plant Boutique for discounts on plants and refreshments. Take part in plant-related events across D.C. and Maryland including a pressed floral frame class and plant care workshops. Ticket prices vary for each event.

Friday to Sunday, July 8 to 10
Hyatt Regency Crystal City

Black nerds unite for a weekend of cosplay, workshops, tournaments and more. Anime, sci-fi, gaming, comic and cosplay fans will convene, and the theme is “homecomin’.” Passes start at $65.

Free Pick
Let’s Skate DC at The Wharf: July Series
July 9-10, Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 3 to 7 p.m.
Transit Pier (970 Wharf St SW, Washington, D.C.)

Visit The Wharf for outdoor roller skating, music and professional roller-skating performances. No pre-registration is required. Children’s skate rentals are $10, adults must bring their own skates.

Free Pick
Baltimore Washington One Carnival
Saturday-Sunday, July 9-10
Lake Clifton Park, Baltimore, MD

Celebrate Caribbean culture in Baltimore with this colorful parade. This two-day Caribbean-style festival features authentic Caribbean food, costumed dancers, live music and entertainment.

Free Pick
City Ridge Unveiling
Saturday, July 9, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
City Ridge (3900 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington DC)

City Ridge unveils its new 10-acre redevelopment with free activities all day long. The festivities begin with a Wimbledon watch party, followed by lawn games and ending with an outdoor screening of “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark." RSVP is required for entry.

Maryland Beer, Wine & Spirits Festival
Saturday, July 9, 12 to 5 p.m.

Learn what Maryland has to offer with this all-local festival. Visitors can sample local beer, wine and spirits and learn about innovative distilleries in the area. General admission passes begin at $45.

The Puppet Co.: Witching Hour
Saturday, July 9, 8 p.m.
The Puppet Co. Playhouse, Glen Echo Park, Maryland

Come early to this night of live performances ranging from puppetry to poetry to enjoy curated cheese and local beer and wine. Audience members can preorder a charcuterie board online. Tickets start at $30. This event is for people aged 18 and up.

Free Pick
Silver Spring Arts & Crafts Summer Fair
Sunday, July 10, 1 to 7 p.m.
Veterans Plaza (1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring, Maryland)

Visit Veterans Plaza to partake in crafts, music, dance and activities provided by over 80 artisans and small businesses. This event is free and open to the public.

Free Pick
Beavers of Clopper Lake Hike
Sunday, July 10, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Seneca Creek State Park, Boat Center, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Join this Sunday hike to discover a few of the six beaver lodges on Clopper lake, learn about beavers and hopefully spot one. This event is free and open to the public.

AFI Silver: Sidney Poitier Remembered
Sunday, July 10, 3:30, 8:15 p.m.
AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center (8633 Colesville Road Silver Spring, MD)

Reflect on celebrated actor Sidney Poitier’s career with viewings of 1992 film “Sneakers” and 1980 film “Stir Crazy.” It's the final weekend of the theater's retrospective — Tickets can be purchased online.

Free Pick
Shakespeare in the Parks
Sunday, July 10 at 3 p.m.
Fairwood Community Park (12390 Fairwood Parkway, Bowie 20720)

Catch a unique version of “Macbeth” in Bowie.

“Inspired by the novel-turned-movie 'Gangs of New York,’ this 1850's interpretation features some of the region's best stage combat artists and seasoned actors,” organizers say.

“Chemical Exile” at Rorschach Theatre
Through July 24
R2 Labs at Waterfront Centre (800 9th Street SW, Washington, D.C.)

Rorschach Theatre took a theatrical experience to sites across the District — but soon “Chemical Exile” will return to the stage for a grand finale.

The first seven chapters of the play are delivered to audience members via a box with specially made items and directions to locations throughout the District. You can still sign up for the full experience, but the theater says you can enjoy the performance even if you skip to the final chapter.

Chapter eight — “Chemical Exile: Synthesis” — will be performed at the Rorschach Theatre from July 7 to 24. Here's info on tickets.

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